People tend to recommend to me mysteries involving rare books. I tend to read them. I tend not to like them. Several months ago, someone recommended a John Dunning mystery which I found less than inspiring, and now it was suggested that I read Donna Leon’s latest Guido Brunetti mystery, “By its Cover”. Bleh. [Aside: I just looked up ‘bleh’ in Urban Dictionary, where it is defined as “a slightly disgusted meh”. I was not at all disgusted by “By its Cover”, so I will change my reaction to ‘meh’.) Meh. [But another definition of ‘bleh’ in Urban Dictionary says it’s a “verbal shrug”. That’s sort of what I thought of the book. So maybe I should change it back again.] Bleh. [Aside: that’s the thing about Urban Dictionary. So many definitions that there are no definitions. Or perhaps that’s what wrong with the English language today? What do I think about Urban Dictionary? Bleh.]
OK, back to Leon. The setting (surprise! surprise!) is Venice. Brunetti is a police commissario. The rare books librarian at a local (private) library discovers books are missing and books are disfigured by the removal of illustrations. Not just any books, but rare books, of the 16th century kind. Who done it?
Obviously, I won’t give away the plot, other than to say: if you think, towards the beginning, that you probably know the answer, but – no- it can’t be that obvious……think again. You got it.
Advantage of the book? 236 pages, big print, little words (other than those in Italian). Want a heads up on the Italian?
1. acqua alta = high water
2. laguna = lagoon
3. riva = shore or bank
4. tramezzini = sandwich
5. questura = police station
6. ropa da donne = women’s thing
7. gratta e vinci = scratch and win (lottery ticket)
8. edicola = newsstand
9. recivuta = receipt
10. paga i danni = pay damages
11. oddio = oh, my
12. androne = entrance hall
Now you are set…….